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  1. #1

    do any learning systems benefit from 4ths tuning?

    do any learning systems benefit from 4ths tuning? any pat martino or lydian chromatic?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    No. Millions of people have learned the guitar's standard tuning and have no issues.

  3. #3
    This cat uses some alternate tuning, I think it's all fourths:


    He can certainly play, that's for sure. In the comments someone said they tried the all fourths tuning, that it worked great for lines but that chords became problematic. I would suspect it opens the door for some nice alternative voicings but that most "guitaristic" voicings would be problematic. I don't really know as I tune standard and have no intention on trying anything else.

  4. #4
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    I'm sure 4ths tuners will tell you it benefits every system.

  5. #5
    I'm not sure I understand why 4ths tuning is significantly different than standard tuning. The only difference is a one-fret shift on the second string. Seems like no big deal to me but some people swear by it.

  6. #6
    I like fourths (E A D G C F) because of the direct link between shape intervals and sound intervals. But the truth is, no tuning is perfect. You still gotta do the work.

  7. #7
    The Roman's got by with Roman numerals. But Arabic numerals are far simpler. Can you divide CCLXXXVI by MCXII?

    4ths tuning vs. standard is about like that.

    The idea that it makes chords harder is a myth. It makes some harder, some easier. Since the high strings are sharper, you actually have a greater range. Even open chords are better with 4ths because you have more notes.

    I've been tuning in 4ths for about two years and every day I think about how great 4ths is. It is better than you think it is. Better than you can imagine. Don't listen to the haters. Fact is .1% of guitarists have tried it.
    Last edited by jster; 05-23-2013 at 01:09 PM.

  8. #8
    I recently saw a video of Alan holdsworth,where he said if he was to start with the guitar over again,he would tune in fourths,but he does come from another planet so that might make a difference to us mere earthlings.

  9. #9
    I would love to see a video of Allan Holdsworth talking about this stuff more in depth. any links?

  10. #10
    He doesn't talk about it. He just made the comment in a clinic. You don't need to be Holdsworth to appreciate it. Your diddling away right? So if you go up two frets and up two strings, you can diddle the same thing an octave up. Moreover, and this is what I really love, whatever you are going to play next moves right along with you. So if you were going to go up one fret to play the next chord/scale/arp for the next bar, if you go up an octave you still just go up one fret to play the next chord/scale/arp. Also, all your scales are three notes per string. Perfect symmetry in every direction. Guitar tuned in fourths is probably the best representation of music you can have. I guess some other stringed instruments are tuned with perfect fourths and perfect fifths also. Trombone might be cool. Piano is a joke. Black keys? How many different ways to run major scales are there on a piano? 12! Guitar tuned in fourths? 1! Not 12. Not 7. Not5. O-N-E! Come in from the cold. Put your mind at ease.
    Last edited by jster; 05-25-2013 at 12:54 AM.

  11. #11
    I like what I'm hearing. What do you mean by one way to run a scale? Any examples? I know that when I do the 3 note per string shapes. I still end ul with seven different shapes in 4ths tuning?

  12. #12
    Here's the major scale for a 21 string guitar. The pattern repeats after seven strings. No matter what position you play the major scale in, you're just taking six strings out of this ONE pattern.

    ---x-x-x
    ---x-xx
    ---x-xx
    ---xx-x
    ---xx-x
    --x-x-x
    --x-x-x

    --x-x-x
    --x-xx
    --x-xx
    --xx-x
    --xx-x
    -x-x-x
    -x-x-x

    -x-x-x
    -x-xx
    -x-xx
    -xx-x
    -xx-x
    x-x-x
    x-x-x

  13. #13
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    Ralph Patt tuned in thirds.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonzo View Post
    Ralph Patt tuned in thirds.
    A lot of finger rolls!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    Here's the major scale for a 21 string guitar. The pattern repeats after seven strings. No matter what position you play the major scale in, you're just taking six strings out of this ONE pattern.

    ---x-x-x
    ---x-xx
    ---x-xx
    ---xx-x
    ---xx-x
    --x-x-x
    --x-x-x

    --x-x-x
    --x-xx
    --x-xx
    --xx-x
    --xx-x
    -x-x-x
    -x-x-x

    -x-x-x
    -x-xx
    -x-xx
    -xx-x
    -xx-x
    x-x-x
    x-x-x
    do you mean 21 Fret? I wonder how studying the lydian chromatic concept would be better with 4ths?

  16. #16
    I mean strings. I'm sure the LLC would be better. Everything is better except Classical, Country and Indy Rock.

  17. #17
    Join Date
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    I tried both the symmetrical P4 and M3 tunings for a few months each when I was feeling in a rut artistically. What jster says is very accurate. I think if you are primarily interested in being a burning bebop or modern jazz player, the two tunings are really shortcuts for awesomeness.

    Having experimented with both, I think the M3 tuning is actually superior for single-line playing because you have all 12 keys available to you within a 4-fret span. Imagine if the Leavitt system worked without stretches, and you have something of an idea. There are also, then, only 4 possible fingerings for every melodic pattern depending on which of the four fingers on the left hand you start with. It really is nice, and cuts out a lot of the practicing you have to do. On Leavitt's system there are 24 possible one-octave major scale fingerings. In Ralph Patt's M3 tuning system there are 4.

    The huge downside of both systems is that you lose the great barre, and thusly your chord/melody style playing is severely restricted. You can certainly play some things that sound nice, and you can develop a concept that is different than traditional chord melody, but your ability to maintain bass/harmony/melody at the same time suffers. I love this style of playing enough that I couldn't stick with either symmetrical tuning.

    I've also found that as I'm getting older I'm more and more of a traditionalist and want to learn older music and be connected to the past. Changing the guitar tuning restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire. If you're more of an artistic maverick than me, it might be what you're looking for.

    The experiment did give me an appreciation for standard tuning and what an elegant solution lowering the B and E strings a half-step really was to opening up the instrument for more orchestral arrangements.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    A lot of finger rolls!
    Ole Kirkeby's site on M3 guitar has a discussion and clip of finger rolls.
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Left Hand, Rolling

  19. #19
    are three note per string scale shapes recommended for this? or the 5 shapes?

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    I've also found that as I'm getting older I'm more and more of a traditionalist and want to learn older music and be connected to the past. Changing the guitar tuning restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire. If you're more of an artistic maverick than me, it might be what you're looking for.
    This is a great point and I feel the same about it. Also, since most of the guitar playing world uses standard tuning, there is no longer the possibility to watch a video and copy a player by imitating what his fingers are doing. With alternate tunings you have to translate that. It does force you to use all ear though, which isn't a bad thing at all.

    What keeps me from learning alternate tunings is that I have to re-learn and re-write all my muscle memory. I have to rewire the finger movements in relation to what sounds come out of the guitar. Then if I find out that tuning is not for me then bummer: now I have to re-write it BACK again.

    There are many pros to different tunings, but I have yet not found any cons to standard tuning that are serious enough for me to abandon it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jster View Post
    He doesn't talk about it. He just made the comment in a clinic. You don't need to be Holdsworth to appreciate it. Your diddling away right? So if you go up two frets and up two strings, you can diddle the same thing an octave up. Moreover, and this is what I really love, whatever you are going to play next moves right along with you. So if you were going to go up one fret to play the next chord/scale/arp for the next bar, if you go up an octave you still just go up one fret to play the next chord/scale/arp. Also, all your scales are three notes per string. Perfect symmetry in every direction. Guitar tuned in fourths is probably the best representation of music you can have. I guess some other stringed instruments are tuned with perfect fourths and perfect fifths also. Trombone might be cool. Piano is a joke. Black keys? How many different ways to run major scales are there on a piano? 12! Guitar tuned in fourths? 1! Not 12. Not 7. Not5. O-N-E! Come in from the cold. Put your mind at ease.
    Maybe stupid question, how come nobody noticed that in the past, with all those different nations, their guitars, and their tunings, Russian, Italian, ...., and they were all too blind to see straight 4ths are much better? I don't dissagree with you, just wonder.
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  22. #22
    can anyone give an example of how 4ths tuning would affect playing bluegrass? What are the disadvantages? Are there any advantages? pertaining to playing bluegrass with 4ths tuning?

  23. #23
    I'm no expert on this but I have been using P4 tuning for a year or so. The problem with bluegrass is that from what I can tell it uses a lot of open string forms. I mean they play a lot of tunes in G, D, or C on the first 4 fret while relying on open strings in the midst of playing open chords. This is not a good style for P4 tuning. P4 does not play open chords well. It is really good at playing single note lines any where on the fret board except open. It does not play bar chords well or open chord. It plays chords well on the neck but not open.

    The "problem" with all "special" tunings are that they are great in their own right but have a difficult time trying to emulate a style that incorporates things that it is weak at. Trying to play song in normal guitar tuning that was written for DADGAD tuning does not work well. It may be able to be done but DADGAD is taking advantage of certain thing the normal tuning is weak at.

    To me this is true with P4 tuning when trying to play bluegrass. Bluegrass songs and style really take advantage of using open strings to get its sound. With P4 this is one of its weaknesses. That's my two cents but I can barely play either style vary well.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Kiefer.Wolfowitz View Post
    Ole Kirkeby's site on M3 guitar has a discussion and clip of finger rolls.
    M3 Guitar 3.0 -- Left Hand, Rolling
    Playing the same fret on consecutive strings is discussed in this recent thread,
    Fingering Fourths?
    which discusses two older threads:

    https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/every...g-fourths.html
    Last edited by Kiefer.Wolfowitz; 06-01-2013 at 04:16 PM.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by ecj View Post
    I tried both the symmetrical P4 and M3 tunings for a few months each when I was feeling in a rut artistically. What jster says is very accurate. I think if you are primarily interested in being a burning bebop or modern jazz player, the two tunings are really shortcuts for awesomeness.

    Having experimented with both, I think the M3 tuning is actually superior for single-line playing because you have all 12 keys available to you within a 4-fret span. Imagine if the Leavitt system worked without stretches, and you have something of an idea. There are also, then, only 4 possible fingerings for every melodic pattern depending on which of the four fingers on the left hand you start with. It really is nice, and cuts out a lot of the practicing you have to do. On Leavitt's system there are 24 possible one-octave major scale fingerings. In Ralph Patt's M3 tuning system there are 4.

    The huge downside of both systems is that you lose the great barre, and thusly your chord/melody style playing is severely restricted. You can certainly play some things that sound nice, and you can develop a concept that is different than traditional chord melody, but your ability to maintain bass/harmony/melody at the same time suffers. I love this style of playing enough that I couldn't stick with either symmetrical tuning.

    I've also found that as I'm getting older I'm more and more of a traditionalist and want to learn older music and be connected to the past. Changing the guitar tuning restricts your ability to learn a lot of the classical/jazz repertoire. If you're more of an artistic maverick than me, it might be what you're looking for.

    The experiment did give me an appreciation for standard tuning and what an elegant solution lowering the B and E strings a half-step really was to opening up the instrument for more orchestral arrangements.
    Bump: , what differences and advantages did you find M3 tuning has over P4 ? I'm currently in P4 for like a year and haven't had the chance to experiment in M3 but what can you say about comparing both tunings ?

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by cmedina View Post
    what differences and advantages [does] M3 tuning has over P4?
    Strengths of all major-thirds tuning.

    M3 tuning excels at closed-position triads (& their inversions) and at closed-position seventh chords. Its repetitive property facilitates learning for beginners; some have claimed that its repetitive property facilitates improvisation. Ralph Patt's jazzweb site contains chord diagrams that illustrate jazz chords (which beginners have trouble appreciating).

    Weaknesses of M3 tuning.

    Diatonic scales have 2 notes on each string, most (2/3) of the time, so (a) greater fluency and independence of fingers and (b) string switching are required. All perfect-fourths (P4) tuning has 3-notes per string diatonic scales.

    For seventh chords, its natural inversions are closed and contain a discordant second interval (seventh,root). Inversions of seventh chords sound better in P4 (apart from the first-inversion of the form 3-7-R-5, which has 5-fret stretches for major sevenths) and in all perfect-fifths tuning (or new standard tuning).

    Students using P4 tuning can easily adapt music and methods for standard tuning. Students of M3 tuning are on their own. P4 players can emulate serious jazz guitarists like Stanley Jordan; M3 players have no living role models, yet.

  27. #27
    thank you ! gonna stick with P4 I guess

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